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Bouncing back after a separation

Why?

Why did he have to be interested in other women? Was I not enough? Was it my fault? Should I have given more?

If you are asking yourself these questions or you have done at some point, you are not alone. It took me a while to come to terms with what I was going through. One day, I had the final straw. I left. It wasn’t sudden. We discussed it and I gave him the freedom to pursue what he thought was his destiny; to go to what he thought was his true love.

To cut a long story short, it didn’t work out for them but I carried on as planned and left, becoming the bad guy for leaving. Apparently, a good woman should just wait for her man.

But I didn’t… I would like to share with you what happened at the end of an era.

Acknowledging my feelings 

I was hurt. If I had self-respect, I should care for myself. I couldn’t bear it and It broke me. I started taking antidepressants which cleared my head and helped me with taking small steps forward. Life seemed a little softer around the edges.

Taking action

Leaving the home I had built with someone wasn’t easy as there were too many memories. Not only that, giving up on what I had become comfortable with wasn’t easy either. However, it had to be done. I started looking for a place to live and soon realised that I couldn’t rent a flat on my salary so I decided to rent a room. I was fortunate enough to meet a really good house mate who later on, became a great friend.

Changing routine and breaking traditions

This was not easy at first. As you move into becoming a couple, there are things that you become accustomed to; little habits. You watch TV at certain times, go to certain places annually, share a hobby etc. I had this too and it was difficult to let go of things I’d grown to love doing, not to mention the awkwardness when people asked where the ‘other half’ was if I turned up alone. 

When I left, I moved into a TV free household so was forced to change my habits anyway. Little did I know what a huge difference it would make. Perhaps saying that I gave up what I loved doing is as an exaggeration. It was more like had a break from it. However, there were places I stopped frequenting when I separated from my ex. The change of my route to work helped a lot too. However, there were times when we passed each other. I used to go shopping on Friday afternoons but I changed that. Afterall, I didn’t need to cook for two.

Meeting new people

As part of my rehabilitation for depression, I was advised to go onto “meet up” which is an online app where you can find groups with the same interest. Through this I found a writing group, a social group and an exclusive girls’ social group. I met a lot of interesting people many of whom I’m still good friends with, in spite of the distance I learnt that I can be confident and appealing to others and most of all, I had great fun.

Doing things alone

It was terrifying at first. It felt like going onto the battle field without an armour. I wasn’t sure if it was the antidepressants that did it, but I managed to find the confidence to go out and attend my first social meet up. I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know what to expect. I went in armed with a smile. I was surprised to meet people who were even more anxious than me! A few drinks in and I was on fire! (no, I didn’t get drunk. I wanted to keep my dignity and composure). I was bought a drink and never ran out of things to say. I went home absolutely buzzing. I went on a mini holiday on my own too. I chose the hotel, the activities and where to eat. If it wasn’t good, I knew that it was my mistake and mine alone. I didn’t get blamed for anything. It wasn’t perfect but I had an absolute blast.

Investing in myself

Buying clothes and make up is one thing. It’s something that I didn’t really do much, but feeling good about how you look matters. I’m not talking about vanity. However, what you see in the mirror is only a true reflection if your view of your whole self isn’t tainted. No matter how physically beautiful you are, if you don’t believe, you will struggle to see. 

For many years I was led to believe I was undesirable not just for my looks but in other aspects too. So, I started learning new things. I went to Zumba and discovered I’m not too bad at dancing. Then I took up belly dancing and other dance classes. My outlook on myself changed not just because I became fit but because I had achieved something. Learning something is the best way to increase one’s self worth and value. I joined other groups like a writing group where I felt I grew intellectually.

Surprisingly, I met my current partner not long after. I was expecting to be single for years but that didn’t happen (that’s another story). Right now, things aren’t perfect but we have a lovely daughter who means the world to us.

Written hoping to inspire and help others – Imelda Spivey xx

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